The festive season can be difficult for people who have experienced a major change or loss in their life.
Feelings of loneliness, isolation and sadness are common and traditions such as Christmas can be painful reminders of how different life has become.
To help, we’ve put together some tips for coping with cancer over the festive season:
1. Be flexible
It is important to be flexible about the way you celebrate Christmas as it can create stress for yourself and others by trying to maintain traditions that aren’t practical during this time of your life. Let go of trying to have the perfect Christmas.
2. Don’t be afaid to ask for help
Don’t have the stamina to do all the shopping? Try asking someone to do it for you or shop online. Consider buying your groceries online and have them delivered.
3. Don’t bottle things up
Tell your loved ones how you are feeling rather than pretending to be strong. That way they can show their support by caring and assisting. This will help you all feel closer during this special time of year.
4. Be kind and gentle
If this is your first Christmas without a loved one it can be very difficult. The first year after a loved one passing away is very difficult as you are faced with many significant events without them for the first time. Be kind and gentle with yourself and share with others about how you are feeling.
5. Avoid things that add stress
Christmas is often a stressful time especially if you or a loved one is living with cancer. Give yourself and your loved ones permission to get through Christmas the best way you can.
6. Plan ahead
Good planning can help reduce anxiety. Plan ahead and know who to contact if you have a problem. Make sure you have enough prescription medicine for this time.
7. Practice self care
This Christmas does not signify how the rest of your Christmases will be. Practice self care and recognise this is just how things are at this time.
What support is available?
One of the most important things to remember is that you don’t have to go it alone. Talking to someone about what you’re feeling can really help. Family and friends are a great source of support and can be very understanding.
But sometimes, you might prefer to speak to someone anonymously. Our experienced 13 11 20 Cancer Nurses provide confidential cancer-related information and support.
Over the 2020 Christmas break, calls to our 13 11 20 Information and Support Line will be answered by Cancer Council Queensland 13 11 20 Cancer Nurses.
This service will be available in Western Australia on: